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Christmas Blessings: Prayers and Poems to Celebrate the Season    by June Cotner order for
Christmas Blessings
by June Cotner
Order:  USA  Can
Warner, 2002 (2002)

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

This year more than most, it feels important to immerse ourselves in the hope and joy of the holiday season, and Christmas Blessings is the perfect accompaniment to the quiet moments stolen from frantic preparations for the celebrations. This charming little volume includes sections on: 'Christmas Joys', 'Through Children's Eyes', 'Christmas Angels', 'Graces, Prayers and Toasts', 'Christmas Memories', 'Christmas Reflections', and 'Inspiration'.

I especially appreciated If I Were a Christmas Tree, a delightful poem in the shape of a fir tree (this one is included in the book excerpt). There are well known classics like Longfellow's I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, Moore's A Visit from St. Nicholas; and those not as well known as they should be like Edgar Allan Poe's The Bells ('What a world of merriment their melody foretells!') and e. e. cummings' Little Tree.

A quote from Flight 93 widow Lisa Beamer about finding 'moments of joy' in sadness, is echoed in poems that speak of lost loved ones, like David Hay's A Toast to Christmas Past; 'Though cherished ones may go their way, / Their memories never die' or Madeleine L'Engle's first Coming which admonishes 'We cannot wait till the world is sane / to raise our songs with joyful voice.'

Christmas Blessings is full of wonderful reminders of why we celebrate the holiday. Treat yourself to a copy and enjoy it late on Christmas Eve with a glass of eggnog or a quiet cuppa, or stuff it in the stockings of your loved ones; they'll appreciate it also.

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